Penn State Harrisburg

Linda Null named 2008 Penn State Teaching Fellow

Linda Null

Linda Null

Penn State Harrisburg Associate Professor of Computer Science Linda Null is one of only three faculty members University-wide to be named a 2008 Penn State Teaching Fellow and to receive the Alumni/Student Award for Excellence in Teaching.

The Alumni Association, the Undergraduate Student Government, and the Graduate Student Association established the Penn State Teaching Fellow Award in 1985. The award honors distinguished teaching and provides encouragement and incentive for excellence in teaching.  Recipients are expected to share their talents and expertise with others throughout the University system during the year following the award presentation.

Along with Dr. Null, Deryck W. Holdsworth, professor of geography at University Park, and Philip Nash, associate professor of history at Penn State Shenango, were honored. Dr. Null is the first Penn State Harrisburg faculty member to receive the award.

A faculty member in Penn State Harrisburg’s School of Science, Engineering, and Technology since 1995, Dr. Null holds M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in computer science from Iowa State University, and three degrees from Northwest Missouri State University – an M.S. in school computer studies, a master’s in education in mathematics, and a bachelor’s in mathematics and English.

Her teaching specializations are in the areas of computer security and operating systems along with computer organization and architecture. Among her research interests are object-oriented database systems and security, and operating systems security and concurrency control.

Dr. Null teaches some of the most challenging courses in computer science and has incorporated Total Quality Management (TQM) into her classroom to provide students with a sense of ownership over their learning. To support active student learning, she created multiple education software packages which have been successful in helping students acquire the hands-on experience they need to understand advanced concepts.

Dr. Null advises both undergraduate and graduate students, has served on more than 30 graduate student committees, and has been the principal thesis adviser for 15 graduate students. In addition, she is the adviser for the local Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) chapter, an honors thesis adviser, and women’s studies adviser.

Dr. Null’s abilities and commitment were recognized by Penn State Harrisburg in 2005 when she was presented the college’s Award for Excellence in Teaching for her work as a graduate program coordinator, mentor, and especially an instructor. “I am thankful and fortunate,” one student wrote, “to have been challenges in Dr. Null’s classes so that I can walk away more prepared, more knowledgeable, and more confident.”

She was also honored by the college in 2003 for her efforts in encouraging females pursuing careers in engineering, science, and mathematics when she was selected to receive the Kathryn Towns Women’s’ History Month Award. Dr. Null also earned teaching awards as a secondary school teacher and while she was at Iowa State University.

A textbook he co-authored, The Essentials of Computer Organization and Architecture, was named the best computer and engineering effort of 2007 by the Text and Academic Authors Association.